EU elections: why I will vote tomorrow

CC/Flickr/Rock Cohen

CC/Flickr/Rock Cohen

We are now halfway through the 2014 European elections, and no matter which way things go, we will have to own up to our choices (or the lack thereof) for the next five years. Yet on Thursday, British and Dutch citizens went to the voting booths in record-low numbers (less than 35% in the Netherlands).

The European Parliament arguably has more power than ever in influencing the workings of the Union and is the only directly-elected institution within it. Yet EU citizens care less and less at every election.

Voter turnout in the European Parliament Elections. Picture credit: Quartz

Voter turnout in the European Parliament Elections. Picture credit: Quartz

No matter whether you are pro-EU or eurosceptic, the Union and its member states are at a turning point: the aftermath of the economic crisis, the negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States of America, the diplomatic crisis with Russia, the digital transition undergone by our society, and, most importantly, the repositioning of European member states within the global order…

Part of the answer will happen through the European Union. For better or worse, its institutions have changed the lives of hundreds of millions of European citizens through the internal opening of its borders, its agricultural policies, its fight for civil rights, etc. Whether it is to take apart, or to make it stronger, citizens must take it upon themselves to show up at the booth to make their preference is taken into account.

This year in particular, the votes gathered by European parties should actually impact the election of the President of the EU Commission as a result of the 2010 Lisbon Treaty. Critics pointed to statements from Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy indicating the European Council may present an outside candidate for the post (such as Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde), but few have talked of the reaction of the future eurodeputies: parties such as ALDE, the EPP or the S&D indicated they would shut down the European Parliament if they were imposed an outsider, yet stressing again the growing importance of the elected body.

People often complain the European Union is not democratic enough, but how can we believe they really do want to participate in its decision making if they pass out on the EP elections? Go vote if you haven’t done so already.

Picture credit : European Parliament

Picture credit : European Parliament

Party candidates for the EU Commission Presidency

*EPP – center-right: Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg)
*S&D – center-left: Martin Schulz (Germany)
*ALDE – liberals: Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium)
*Greens: Ska Keller/José Bové (Germany & France)
*European Left: Alexis Tsipras (Greece)

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UK & Netherlands : which way will the pendulum swing?

CC/Flickr/Jennifer Jane Mills

UKIP activists – CC/Flickr/Jennifer Jane Mills

Today, the 2014 elections for the European Parliament started in the Netherlands and the UK. Many fear that the UKIP and the PPV will swipe victory in their respective countries. What do you think? Answer this poll as we wait for preliminary results to come in. 

European campaigns in France : when and where ?

We have talked a lot about a few small European parties, so here are the dates of the launch of their European campaign. Go see for yourself what they are all about !

Us Citizens (Nous citoyens) is launching its campaign on the 5th of April. Meet them at 15:00 at the Espace Charenton, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

Citizen Europe, the European list of the Citizen Gathering (Rasemblement Citoyen), will be meeting in Paris Wednesday 09/04 in the Rue des Rosiers. More details to come ASAP!  You might have to make an early choice there, because the UMP plans to launch its European campaign that very same day.

Pierre Larrouturou’s New Deal party (Nouvelle Donne) will be in Strasbourg on the 11th of April for the presentation of their EU objectives. Meet the candidates at 20:00 at the Cultural Center of Illkirch.

The European party (Parti Européen) has not yet determined a date to meet with its supporters – we will keep you updated !

The ones you’ve already missed

The Socialist Party (PS) took an early start by launching their campaign at the beginning of March. If you missed it, here is a video of most of the action (in French of course) with the head of the EU socialists Harlem Désir.

http://dai.ly/x1effxp

 

Same thing for the FN, which presented its candidates a few weeks back.Aymeric Chauprade, the leader in Ile-de-France for the FN’s European list, was even present during several of the campaign meetings for the local French elections.

Here is a poll on EU voting intentions in France published by Le Figaro on Tuesday.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/2014/04/01/PHOe8276fbc-b99d-11e3-b80b-3bfae645a38e-805×353.jpg

The Party of the European Left has not specified a date for the launching of its European campaign.

Special award for originality

France might arguably be the most original of all EU member states in terms of political parties. Here is a new one I stumbled upon:

  • Alliance Royale, a political party whose main goal is to restore a monarchy in France while remaining open to the concept of Europe. Its leaders hope to improve on 2009, where they only won 0,05% of the votes in Ile-de-France.
Alliance Royale meeting on March 24, 2012. CC/Flickr/Remy Noyon

Alliance Royale meeting on March 24, 2012. CC/Flickr/Remy Noyon